‘Prodigal Son’ Bosses on Bright & ‘Feral’ Paul and the Girl in the Box ‘Bombshell’
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Episode 8 of Prodigal Son, “Family Friend.”]
Bright (Tom Payne) may be one step closer to finding out what really happened when he was a child, thanks to the newest serial killer on Prodigal Son.
Paul Lazar (Michael Raymond-James) knows all about that camping trip and the girl in the box, and he even provided Bright with a piece of evidence that proves she was real, despite what Gil (Lou Diamond Phillips) and Jessica (Bellamy Young) insisted: her bracelet.
But the FBI took over the Paul Lazar case at the end of the episode, bringing another part of Bright’s past to his present.
Here, showrunners Chris Fedak and Sam Sklaver break down Episode 8 and preview what’s to come in Episode 9, which they call the “sexiest episode yet,” and beyond.
What kind of dynamic did you want to create between Bright and Paul? We’ve seen Bright talking to a serial killer for the first seven episodes with his father, but this is very different.
Chris Fedak: Yeah, they are. With Paul, when Bright’s first talking to him on the phone, you get a glimpse of Bright’s professionalism, those FBI skills of he’s trying to solve a case, but over the course of the episode, you realize there’s this very tangible connection between the two of them, that Paul Lazar also knows things about Bright’s past.
That’s something that we love the idea of — watching Bright work as a professional, but sometimes the hardest thing to do is to be able to separate yourself when the person also has a connection to your past.
Sam Sklaver: What we were most excited for when we got Michael Raymond-James, who just kills it in the role, was the idea that Paul Lazar would be a different sort of killer than Martin. I remember Chris saying he wanted him to feel feral in a way.
Like you said, we have seen Bright talk to his father all the time, who’s a certain type of serial killer. What we really wanted to get from Paul was a real feral feeling, like he was a force of nature you have to move through. We’re not done with him at the end of this episode, and that’s a very scary thing.
What do Bright and Paul each want to get out of their interactions? Paul mentions finding his calling. Will Bright’s need for the truth about that camping trip overtake his need to catch him? That’s something Gil is worried about.
Fedak: You’re reading very well into it, which is that for Bright, he’s trying to understand himself. Bright is driven to get this guy because this guy is a killer and he needs to stop him. There’s the professional part of it. Then there’s also the personal part of it, which is he wants to understand more about his past.
From the Paul Lazar perspective — and speaking of what Sam was saying about the differences between Martin as a predatory psychopath and Paul Lazar — is that Paul feels like he’s on a mission from some type of divine power. He’s got this thing he has to do. Now that is a very different psychology. So for him, the fact that the son of the Surgeon has been placed in front of him isn’t so much a person who needs to be killed but a person he needs to understand because he feels like there’s a greater meaning to this.
We’re making progress in learning about the girl in the box, but can Bright trust that this isn’t just his father manipulating him?
Fedak: This episode is very definitive in saying that she was real. The manipulation we’re learning about here is just the confirmation that she was real. That’s a huge thing for Bright. For so many people, it’s just the one piece of the puzzle nobody would ever totally get on board with. It becomes an even bigger deal for Gil and Jessica.
Sklaver: That’s the real bombshell of this, which is for the past 20 years, his mother and his second father in Gil Arroyo have been telling Bright he was mistaken, he was misremembering, he didn’t see the thing he saw, and when that is revealed, the way it’s going to come back and hit the two of them is going to be terrible.
What can you say about Paul and Martin’s dynamic? Paul says he was “so much more” than his disposal man.
Fedak: When we first started thinking about Paul, we loved the notion of an Igor, but we also thought that wasn’t enough. Even Igor has dreams. It is a dynamic that we will explore a bit and we’ll also realize how they were important to each other and how lonely it is to be a serial killer out in the world. There’s not a lot of people you can bond with.
The FBI is taking over and pushing Bright and the others out. What comes next with their investigation? Will we learn more about what Bright was like with the FBI beyond what we saw in the pilot?
Fedak: Yes. We have Meagan Good coming in to play Colette Swanson, and we’re so excited to have her on board. That’s something we knew we wanted to get into. We wanted to see what it was like back in the day.
Also, the last time we saw Bright with the FBI, he was getting fired, so we want to see that wasn’t the first time he was brought in front of the disciplinary board, and there’s some drama there. That will be a lot of fun to come back to a couple times over the course of the season.
Sklaver: Gil really does foreshadow it when he says the FBI are here and they’re not big fans of you. We’re definitely going to see that in Meagan’s character and the fun run of stories that we’re telling in 9, 10, and 11.
Prodigal Son, Mondays 9/8c, Fox